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Guv’s attorney: Brewer can’t name Thomas replacement

Gov. Jan Brewer’s general counsel said the governor will not name a replacement for former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas because state law defines that as a duty of the county Board of Supervisors.

In a letter to the county’s general counsel, Joe Kanefield on April 5 said Brewer would be allowed to name Thomas’s replacement only if a majority of the supervisors declare that they have a conflict of interest in the situation. Thomas had asked Brewer to name his replacement, alleging a conflict of interest because he brought criminal charges against two supervisors, Don Stapley and Mary Rose Wilcox.

The Arizona Constitution grants the governor the power to fill vacancies if no law grants that authority to another person or entity, or if a majority of the entity that has that authority declares a conflict of interest.

“It is our understanding that neither has occurred to date, and therefore Gov. Brewer has no role with respect to this vacancy at this time,” Kanefield wrote.

Thomas resigned his position on April 5 so he could run for attorney general. Several people have announced interest in the position, including former County Attorney Rick Romley, Chandler Mayor Boyd Dunn, former federal and county prosecutor Andrew Pacheco, and 2006 attorney general candidate Bill Montgomery, a former county prosecutor.

Brewer served on the Board of Supervisors from 1997 to 2002.

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